It was already supposed to be a year of transition for Billy McKinney and just when it looked like he had settled in, the season took another twist nine days ago. It looks like he's handling the latest transition just fine.
McKinney, who was acquired by the Cubs in the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija to the A's, hit his first homer since being traded to Chicago to lead Class A Advanced Daytona to a 6-2 win over Jupiter on Sunday.
The left-handed slugger's blast -- a two-run shot -- came in the eighth inning off Hammerheads southpaw reliever James Buckelew. It gave him 11 homers on the season after he went deep 10 times at Class A Advanced Stockton.
While that represented his only hit of the afternoon -- he finished 1-for-3 -- McKinney's other plate appearances were also productive. His groundout in the second plated the game's first run, and he added another RBI with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. The four RBIs tied a career high, first established June 21 with Stockton.
The Dallas native is 6-for-23 (.261) with a homer, eight RBIs, four walks and three strikeouts in his first eight games in the Florida State League.
The A's initially took McKinney with the 24th overall pick last year out of Plano (Texas) West Senior High School. The team then aggressively shipped him to Class A Advanced Stockton as a 19-year-old, where he was the second-youngest position player behind only top Astros prospect Carlos Correa. He struggled some out of the gate, sporting a .205 average as late as May 23, but rebounded to bring it up to .241 on July 3 -- his last game before the trade.
While overshadowed by Addison Russell, McKinney was widely considered a quality return for the Cubs in the deal that saw their ace shipped to the AL West. MLB.com had him pegged as the A's No. 2 prospect at the time of the deal, behind only Russell, and had given him a 60 grade on his hit tool and 50 grades on his power, run and fielding tools. Following the trade, he became the Cubs' No. 9 prospect. The left-hander owns a .243/.334/.399 line in 83 games between Daytona and Stockton.
Daytona catcher Chadd Krist also went deep Sunday. Right-hander Tayler Scott (5-6) picked up the win after scattering five hits and two walks over six scoreless innings.
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com.